All Lumie wants to see is Goldie's beautiful smile, but the only expression he ever shows Lumie is tears. When Goldie asks him for a favor, Lumie leaps at the chance to finally see Goldie happy.
Goldie wants to live a life free of the fear that has chained him for so long, but breaking free once and for all may come with a higher price than he and Lumie are prepared to pay.
The first time Lumie had seen Goldie in the flesh was one of the oddest moments of Lumie’s life. Lumie knew Goldie. He knew that shining golden hair, rosy in the sun like the gold was touched by fire. And those big golden eyes surrounded by dark gold lashes were something Lumie had seen in his mind’s eye for years and years. He knew the moment when Goldie would come into his life, when Dane and Mercury would rescue him, but Lumie hadn’t understood what five years of captivity with the enemy would do to Goldie. Lumie had been lucky. He had barely been a day out of his egg when Mercury had come for him. Goldie hadn’t been rescued for far too long, and it had destroyed something inside of him.
Lumie had tagged along with Mercury, his Daddy, when Mercury went to check on a mother dragon that had been rescued along with Goldie. When Mercury went into the house where the mother was staying with her new eggs, Goldie had snuck out the back door.
Looking back on that moment years later, Lumie could see that Goldie was shaking in utter fear, but at the time, all Lumie had seen was the boy from his waking dreams.
“Hi!” Lumie had chirped happily. Goldie, on the other hand, had let out a shriek. He stumbled back from Lumie, holding up his hands as if he were warding off a blow. Mercury and Martha, an air dragon in charge of the village, had come hurrying outside and together they coaxed Goldie back into the house. Goldie wouldn’t look at Lumie even once as he hurried up the stairs.
The encounter had left Lumie horribly confused for years. He knew what Goldie’s eyes looked like when he was smiling happily at Lumie: shining and bright. He had seen it, but only in a dream rather than real life. Lumie didn’t understand the fear he saw inside Goldie. For the next thirteen years Lumie had visited the village at least once a week and had made a point in saying hello to Goldie. Eventually Goldie stopped screaming and running from Lumie, but the fear never vanished.
Lumie had yet to see Goldie smile.
“Which wire?” Alloy hissed. From the slightly frantic tone of his voice, Lumie realized it wasn’t the first time Alloy had spoken. Lumie took his eyes off the gleaming gold colored plate he had pulled off the security alarm, got his thoughts back to the present, and focused on the two different wires Alloy had pulled out of the guts of the alarm.
“It doesn’t matter which wire,” Lumie replied with a shrug. “Just heat them both really fast, then cool them off suddenly. Total wire failure won’t set off that sort of alarm.”
“Don’t even think about it,” Mercury snapped from behind them. The overhead light flickered on, bringing the foyer of the house Mercury owned with Dane into focus. Mercury had bronze colored hair that fell just below his ears and his bronze colored eyes were sharp as he glared at Lumie and Alloy. He was angry. Lumie looked at the alarm box they had stripped and were about to destroy, then back at Mercury’s glaring face.
Oh, he was mad about the alarm thing.
“I was just teaching.” Lumie grumbled. He held out the gold colored plate and Mercury yanked it from his hands.
“A, you’re both nineteen and should know better. B, you both promised me a thesis statement for the essay you have to write and one page from your algebra workbook before bedtime. You can teach Alloy when you’re not supposed to be doing other things.” Mercury growled. Lumie felt magic flash through the air and the gold plate flew back into place on the alarm. The four screws Alloy had dropped to the floor flew into their slots and twisted until they were in place. “Plus,” Mercury continued in a softer tone, “you both left fingerprints all over the alarm system. Eventually someone would have noticed your tampering and you both would have been caught.” He pulled one sleeve down over his palm and wiped at the gold plate before reaching out to snap the outer housing with all the buttons back onto the frame.
Alloy bounded off and Lumie reluctantly followed. He had actually finished the math, but he hated essays. It would only take ten minutes to scrap together the one sentence thesis statement, but he didn’t want to. At all. He had taken the damn test Mercury had wanted him to. His results weren’t back yet, but he had thought he was done with school with the damned GED out of the way. Mercury having the tutor continue to pile on more homework was ridiculous.
Instead of following Alloy upstairs, Lumie headed to the kitchen. He deserved a cinnamon bomb before having to go do work.
Dane was already in the kitchen when Lumie walked in. He was on the phone, though, so he couldn’t speak up to stop Lumie from raiding the candy basket on top of the fridge. The happiest day of Lumie’s life was the day he realized he had finally grown tall enough to get to his candy on his own. Somehow Lumie thought that might have also been Dane’s unhappiest day, but he tried not to dwell on trivialities like that. Dane was super special in the magic world. Whatever. So was Lumie. That wasn’t even arrogance talking. Dane was the son of a god and a crazy lady from across the pond. Grandma came to visit every once in a while. Lately she had started bringing along her spell books. Those were interesting to read. Lumie had nicked a few since they were so much more interesting than the books Mercury had him reading.
Lumie’s powers, on the other hand, were… well he didn’t really have a way to actually define what he could do. As far as he knew, no one could explain why his magic was so odd. He was a fire dragon, so playing with fire was his favorite pastime—he liked it even better than tormenting Dane—but sometimes he saw things he shouldn’t, he could travel in ways a fire dragon shouldn’t be able, and he generally confounded Dane with the things he could do. That was part of the fun, really, and Lumie tried not to dwell on things that weren’t fun.
With his long blond hair pulled back into a tail at the base of his skull, Dane looked severe. His blue eyes glared pointedly at Lumie, so Lumie picked up the cinnamon bomb wrapper from where he had dropped it on the counter and put it in the trash. Taking care of the wrapper now was better than Dane’s magic yanking him back into the kitchen to do it later. Plus, if Lumie left too many wrappers lying around, the basket suddenly had a dearth of cinnamon bombs for a few days. It was punishment that Lumie did not enjoy.
Dane hung up the phone before Lumie could escape.
“That was the new Secretary of Defense,” Dane said. He was frowning down at the screen of his phone as he spoke, but he looked up at Lumie, and Lumie couldn’t help freezing in place.
He had seen this before. Daydreamed it, really. In the kitchen with Dane looking so serious. Dane was about to tell him something that would change his life forever.